(Some Katha moments by Guruji Sri Pran Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj, recorded in Tapan Baba's Temple in Radha Kund, on 13-Jan-2019)
Have you ever had the opportunity of honouring prasadam in a Vaishnava Sabha? It is also called as Bhandara. What does such prasadam consist of? Sabzi, cucumber, ghee, etc. And usually also a sweet preparation. What happens if the sweet preparation is served first? Sweet preparation- that is, rabdi, or rasgulla, etc. Why are these not served first? Why is a bitter preparation served first? For example, neem aalu, or some other neem dish, or karela are served first. But rasgulla is not served first. This is worthy of consideration. Why is it served this way?
Well, Shastra says, aage teeta, pare meetha. (i.e. first the bitter things, then the sweet ones). Because if the sweet preparations are served first, then later you will not be able to eat (relish) anything else. But if you eat the bitter preparations first, then later everything else will taste nice- whether it is saag, sosha, chachadi, etc. Do you understand the meaning of this statement? (Guruji's disciples keep silent. Guruji laughs jokingly:) since you don't understand the meaning, you all are fools. (His disciples participate in the joke and say that even if they understood, they wouldn't speak in front of him. To this, Guruji jokes back, saying): those who had to understand, have understood it.
(Then Guruji pats the devotee sitting at his lotus feet.) Did you follow all this discussion? All this is not simple katha. It is Krishna Katha. For example, a child- being small- may not understand everything. He is not even able to address his father properly as 'Baba'. But when he grows up, the same child is able to later address his father as baba, or pitri dev.
It is easier to relish devotional utterances in a small assembly instead of in a big market, or in front of thousands of people. 7 or 10 of us meet here regularly. (Later, Guruji praises the devotee): he has sung Hari naam kirtan so nicely. It sounds all the more nice in a small gathering like this. Would it be relishable in a big audience, full of cacophony and confusion?
(Finally, the devotee wants to take leave but Guruji stops him:) maryada langhane narake gaman. The meaning of this is deep. Even if somebody takes medicine for a long time, (say) his disease is not cured. When does this happen? It happens when the ill person does not observe proper restrictions of diet while taking medicines. What does this example teach us? In this example, medicine means Hari naam, or Hari katha. By doing Hari naam one can experience Prema. Then why do I not experience it? Because of apradh, or kuvaitta (bad diet). Abandon Kuvaitta and then do bhajan. That is, first leave aside Kuvaitta and then take the medicines. Alongside, introduce suvaitta (good, healthy diet). Only then the medicines will act.
A Vaishnava Brahmin is like a devta. Always remember that there is nobody equal to him. If a Brahmin is a Vaishnava, then devtas (demigods) also offer him dandavats (obeisances).
Translation by Sanatan Das (NCR)